Minister of State for Hajj and Auqaf, PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Power, Industries and Commerce, Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi on Thursday flagged off last batch of Hajj pilgrims from the Hajj House, Bemina here.
The State Hajj Committee apprised the Minister about the arrangements and facilities being provided to the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. It was informed that a total number of 8103 pilgrims are performing Hajj from the Jammu and Kashmir this year, which include 4579 male and 3579 female pilgrims. These Hajji's left in 20 Air India flights from Srinagar International Airport to Saudi Arabia.
Interacting with the media-persons on the occasion, the Minister thanked the Civil, Police and Auqaf administration for ensuring smooth arrangements and providing satisfactory facilities to the pilgrims. He said due to the efforts of Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti and State Hajj Committee the Hajj quota for Jammu and Kashmir State was increased by about 1500 Hajji's against the last year's quota.
The Minister said a lot of improvement has been made this year in providing facilities to the pilgrims. He said this year hi-tech buses with modern facilities like AC, PAS and other facilities were used for ferrying pilgrims from the Hajj House to the Srinagar International Airport. He said this year particular identity cards with helpline numbers were issued to the pilgrims besides jackets to ease identification of the Hajji's in Saudi Arabia.
Farooq Andrabi expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made for Hajj 2017 and hoped that in 2018 more improvements would be made.
Responding to the question of issuance of SIM cards to the pilgrims, the Minister said that SIM cards were issued to the pilgrims in advance. He said, however, some pilgrims have not fulfilled the requisite formalities and that is why their SIMs were not activated. Replying to another question with regard to accommodation facilities, the Minister said that 19778 Indian Hajji's were given accommodation from Green to Azizia, out of which 900 pilgrims are from Jammu and Kashmir State.
On the occasion, the Minister met the intending pilgrim individually and requested them to pray for peace in the State and prosperity of the people. He wished them a safe and smooth performance of the tenants of Hajj.